The pathway to a career as a doctor begins long before first stepping into a hospital or medical centre, and it can start right here in regional Queensland.
The ‘A Taste of Medicine’ event run by the University of Queensland Rural Clinical School (UQRCS), in partnership with the University of Southern Queensland, provided Year 11 and 12 students in the Darling Downs and South West region the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a medical student.
The event held on Wednesday 25 May at the University of Southern Queensland gave young aspiring doctors the chance to immerse themselves in a day of hands-on clinical skills sessions and gain insight from staff and students from the two universities about the pathways into the medical program.
The University of Queensland Rural Clinical School Head of Toowoomba Regional Clinical Unit Dr Doogie Whitcombe said ATOM, gave regional students a unique hands-on chance to experience medicine.
“We love being able to show regional high school students what a day in the life of a doctor can look like. We did this today through activities including suturing, plastering, using defibrillators, electrocardiograms and virtual reality,” Dr Whitcombe said.
“We’re showing them the way forward, reminding them that their career aspirations are within their grasp right here in regional Queensland.”
St John's Catholic School Year 11 student Kiss Cruz travelled from Roma for the ATOM experience.
“Coming from a rural town, I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet new people and experience new things within the medical world that we might not get to experience at home,” she said.
“Medicine has always been a passion of mine and I think it would be good to learn the skills and apply it in a town where there are not that many doctors.”
University of Southern Queensland Associate Professor (Biomedical Science) Eliza Whiteside said the event’s success was a result of the strong partnership between the University, The University of Queensland, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service (DDHHS) and South West Hospital and Health Service (SWHHS) through the Darling Downs – South West Medical Pathway.
“We are working together to create an end-to-end medical education and training pathway in the Darling Downs and South West region, starting with a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences degree at UniSQ, and then the delivery of the full UQ MD program through The University of Queensland,” Associate Professor Whiteside said.
“We’re building a strong local medical workforce pipeline via a world class, end-to-end medical education and training pathway, giving aspiring doctors the option to remain in the region during and after their medical training.
The medical pathway was born from a Memorandum of Understanding entered into by University of Southern Queensland, The University of Queensland, DDHHS and SWHHS in December last year.
It follows the success of a similar pathway established in 2019 between The University of Queensland, CQUniversity and Central Queensland and Wide Bay Hospital and Health Services.